One year with Kitchen Conversations summary

With the beginning of 2021, Contemporary LYNX began collaborating with artist writer and podcaster Patrycja Rozwora. We started promoting Kitchen Conversations podcast in the Online Weekly section of the magazine. Now, with the year coming to a close and with over 13 hours of conversations in the books, we would like to reflect on the whole series and present a short recap of each interview in the grander scheme of the underlying topic; the vast and diverse post-Soviet region and its current state of affairs. 

This year, the podcast was visited by ten artists, one collective, two museum representatives and one grandmother, overall covering the history and politics of eleven Eastern European countries.

The opening episode with a Moldovan visual artist Marina Sulima allowed us to enter a world filled with absurd and operating on the basis of its own bizarre logic. By playing with fact and fiction, in a form of a hybrid film, Sulima reflected on Italy Syndrome – a type of depression experienced by Eastern European women working as caregivers in Italy.  


Romanian writer and researcher Ștefan Ionescu-Ambrosie shared his ongoing interest in the Romanian New Wave cinema and the manele subculture (a Turkish-derived pop folk music genre written and performed by Romani artists). During the interview, Ionescu-Ambrosie made a proposal to use the forementioned art in the process of healing the collective mental state of Romania and the socio-historical, intergenerational trauma of the region and its people. 


In an interview with Bulgarian photographer and writer Krasimira Butseva we entered the dark past and hidden history of the gulag (a system of forced labour camps established on the territory of Soviet Union) across socialist Bulgaria. By discussing her latest video installations Butseva spoke about the notion of Eastern European trauma, history and memory. 


Right before releasing it to the public, Amsterdam-based filmmaker Stefan Pavlović shared the making-of of his award winning feature length documentary Looking for Horses. The film tells a story of a friendship between the filmmaker and fisherman Zdravko who lost his hearing during the Bosnian war and retreated to a lake in search of solitude. Beyond the picturesque landscapes of Bosnia and Herzegovina the movie depicts a possibility of communication beyond words and languages.


Valerija Kravale – musician and aspiring academic, who spoke about her inner conflict with belonging to a specific country rather than to a language, in her case Russian. Using the sound of impressionistic vocal lines, guitar soundscapes and electronic dark wave, Kravale reconnected with her past and explored the notion of post-Soviet nostalgia. 


The work of Polish visual artist and designer Ola Korbańska is a direct response to the mass protests of polish feminists, fighting for access to unbiased sexual education and the right to a safe and legal abortion. The conversation revolved around the notion of cleaning as an act of protesting and different, perhaps gentler ways of transgressing the status quo. 


Julia Boxler and Ani Menua from the X3 Kollektiv (including Helena Melikov) shared their experiences of running a German speaking podcast that deals with different aspects of the German-Russian+ identity. The interview also covered the history of German migration to the regions of the former Soviet Union as well as the popular term Ostalgie and its meaning.


A guest from overseas – Tatyana Ostapenko reflected on her Ukrainian origins from her current home – Portland, Oregon. Her meticulous, often large-scale paintings capture the daily lives of people who usually don’t make it into official historical records. Taking inspirations from memories and archival images portraying Soviet Ukraine, Ostapenko attempts to heal trans-generational trauma and questions tradition. 


On the occasion of the 90th anniversary of Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, Agnieszka Pindera (head of Museum Research Center) shed a light onto the avant-garde collection of the museum, dating back to the turn of the 1920s and 1930s. Pindera discussed current and future shows exhibited on the occasion of the anniversary (among others the historic collection of the a.r. group and a show by a contemporary, Slovenian artist Jasmina Cibic). 


This year we also had a unique, three-episode series of the podcasts – Grandma’s Tales featuring Patrycja’s 100 years old grandmother. Babcia Marianna was born during the interbellum and thus lived through the entire World War II and State Socialism in Poland. Throughout the series we have learned about the operations of the underground, the situation of young woman in labor camps and eventually the harsh realities of the failed communist dream.

Tasha Arlova returned to the podcast, this time speaking about her own artistic and film practice in relation to the liberation movement in Belarus. In her recent short film Dear Revolution, Arlova writes a letter to the revolution that started but never came to an end. A song of hope, expectations, and fears and a promise of change, just before state terror gripped Belarus. 


A different artistic take on the political situation in Belarus was presented by Rufina Bazlova – the face behind the red and white embroidery titled History of the Belarusian Vyzhyvanka. With the use of this gentle craft, Bazlova chronologically records the singular events happening in Belarus, giving particular attention to individuals, who lost their health, freedom or life in fight for democracy.


Theatre-maker, choreographer and performer Burkhard Körner took us on a journey through the history of Eastern Germany, particularly underlining the experiences of kids like him, growing up in the freshly reunited Germany. Together with Rika Weniger and Noah Voelker, they created Wie macht man gute Kunst für Ostdeutsche? – a humorous theatre piece presenting difficult aspects of the Eastern German identity, specific to each generation and class that lived through the time of the GDR.


Last but not least, the year was concluded by a conversation with Julia Griffin – project curator of Young Poland: An Arts and Crafts Movement (1890 – 1918) at William Morris Gallery in London. The conversation revolved around the first major exhibition exploring decorative arts and architecture developed in Poland, in response to the country’s invasion and occupation by Habsburg Monarchy, the Kingdom of Prussia, and the Russian Empire for a period of 123 years. 


Become a Patron: 

Support with a single donation:

Follow on Instagram: @patrycja.rozwora #kitchenconversationspodcast

Return to the homepage

About The Author


Artist and writer. Studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and the Critical Studies Department at the Sandberg Institute. Her ongoing research relates the post-Soviet countries. In 2020, she launched a podcast series called ‘Kitchen Conversations.’

This might interest you